Football faces toughest challenge of season with road trip to undefeated DePauw
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern Panthers will face their toughest test of the season this Saturday when they travel to Greencastle, Ind., to battle the unbeaten, league-leading, and defending Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference champion DePauw University Tigers. Kickoff is set for Noon central time in Blackstock Stadium.
DePauw clinched a share of this year's SCAC title and the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship last week with a last-second 32-31 win at Trinity University.
The Tigers are 7-0 overall, 5-0 in league play, and ranked No. 24 in the most recent American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' Poll. DePauw was SCAC co-champions last season and made the program's first NCAA postseason appearance.
Birmingham-Southern notched its fifth win of the season last Saturday—the most wins in a season since reinstating football in 2007—with a 50-10 Homecoming victory against Sewanee. BSC improved to 5-2 with the win, and 2-2 against league opponents.
DePauw owns a 3-0 all-time record against Birmingham-Southern, including last year's 35-21 win in Panther Stadium on the BSC campus.
"This will be an enormous challenge for our football team, but also will allow us to gauge the progress we have made with our program over the past four seasons," said BSC Head Coach Eddie Garfinkle. "DePauw's football program today is where we aspire to be and the direction we are headed, and we are excited about going up there Saturday and competing against the best"
The game will feature the league's top scoring offense against the top scoring defense. Birmingham-Southern enters the game averaging 38 points per game, while the DePauw defense is allowing opponents just 305 total yards and 18 points a game, both tops in the SCAC. DePauw's offense is averaging 416 yards a game, which leads the conference, while the Panthers' are second in scoring defense at 23 points per game and fourth in total defense.
The game also will pit the Panthers' league-best rushing offense of 260 years a game on the ground against DePauw's SCAC-leading rushing defense that is allowing only 94 yards each contest.
The BSC offense is led by senior tailback Walter Arrington, who leads the SCAC in rushing with 116 yards per game. Sophomore tailback Shawn Morris is second in the league in scoring with 11 touchdowns. On defense, the Panthers are led by senior defensive end Jeremy Jones who took over the league lead in sacks and tackles for a loss following his performance against Sewanee. Jones had seven tackles, including 4.5 for a loss of 21yards and three sacks in the Homecoming win. He was named the SCAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
The Tigers bring the SCAC's No. 1 passing attack into the contest, led by senior quarterback Michael Engle who has thrown for 2,074 yards and 23 touchdowns. His favorite target is senior wide out Alex Koors, who has 57 receptions and 13 scores. Koors is the SCAC's all-time leading receiver. The DePauw defense is led by senior defensive back Jonathan Lambert with 55 tackles and junior defensive linemen Michael Fultz and Graham Wilkerson with three sacks apiece.
The game can be heard on Birmingham-Southern's live streaming Internet radio broadcast featuring play-by-play by Josh Caray. The free online broadcasts, as well as live in-game stats, are accessible through www.bscsports.net and begin approximately 15 minutes before kickoff.
Birmingham-Southern remains on the road Nov. 6 as the Panthers travel to Memphis to face SCAC foe Rhodes College at 1:30 p.m.